Visiting in Covidland. A poem by Mairead Breen

Through the window I see you
reading, Rosary done, legs raised
for the edema, in night attire –
the carers have already been.

I wave, you look up smiling,
wait for the window opening
to converse across the room,
though you’ll have trouble hearing.

Any news? you ask, expectantly.
None. I’ve seen no-one,
stayed home – every day the same
in bland Covidland.

How’s everyone?
All fine, I say,
they ask about you.
Pleased, you smile.

Aren’t you coming in?
Too risky with this virus,
we must keep you safe.
Your face falls.

I’m sorry, Mum.

Bitter lough breezes
snap at my ankles,
bite my face, neck,
time to go . . .
I leave you –
neither kissed, nor hugged –
with your magazines, your pains,
your wondering why.

So, so sorry, Mum.

13 May 2020

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